Vegan Kale Pesto is a delicious way to get your greens in! It's vibrant, packed with flavour, and a great alternative to traditional basil pesto. Made in 5 minutes, it's so good stirred through pasta for a very fast & easy meal!
Here's the deal. Pesto. But not your average pesto. Today we are making pesto from kale. It's a very delicious way to get lots of greens in!
Vegan Kale Pesto is deep green with a chunky, nutty texture and a really great depth of flavour. Kale also happens to be generally a lot cheaper than basil which helps make this recipe a real winner!
To make Vegan Kale Pesto you will need a few minutes of time and these ingredients:
And a few ingredient notes:
- Nuts - Almonds in pesto are delicious and I love to use them for this recipe. If you don't have any though, walnuts, cashews and pine nuts also work well. Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are a great nut-free alternative.
- Kale - Any variety of kale is fine to use. It makes a great alternative to the usual fresh basil.
- Nutritional yeast - This gives the cheesy, umami flavour of parmesan. It is much cheaper, it's naturally dairy-free, and it gives WAY more flavour than using store-bought vegan parmesan cheese. Important when it needs to stand out against the strong kale flavour.
- Extra virgin olive oil - A good quality one for the very best flavour. Whilst I recommend using extra virgin olive oil for the best results, you can substitute water to make the recipe oil-free. You will need a little less though.
How To Make Vegan Pesto
Making Vegan Kale Pesto is incredibly quick and easy. In fact, it can be ready in about 5 minutes. Simply add the ingredients (reserving half of the almonds for later) to a food processor and blend until it's at your desired consistency. I like mine thick but still a little chunky.
Adjust the thickness to suit your preferences by adding more olive oil, water, or a combination of both, and check the seasoning. Finally, add the reserved almonds and pulse until broken up but still with lots of texture. Then it's ready to store or use!
I love this pesto stirred through freshly cooked pasta with a sprinkle of grated vegan parmesan cheese, but there are lots of other ways to use it including:
- In my Creamy Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad.
- On pizza instead of pizza sauce, or as well as!
- In sandwiches, paninis, and wraps.
- With flatbreads.
- On grain, pasta or rice bowls.
- On roasted vegetables.
- Tossed through steamed new potatoes.
- To flavour soups, sauces, and stews.
Expert Tip - When serving with pasta, scoop out a cup of starchy pasta water before you drain it. When mixing the pesto through the hot pasta, add a little of the starchy water to let down the sauce. It will thin it a little, make it glossy, and encourage it to cling and coat the pasta really well.
Store Vegan Kale Pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. I love to freeze it in ice cube trays so I can just pop out a little at a time. It's ready for a quick meal at the drop of a hat! Remove from the freezer, place in a container and allow to defrost either overnight or on the counter if you need it more quickly.
There is no denying that raw, blended kale is quite pungent and has a strong flavour. With the other ingredients though this should be balanced out. Feel free to play around with the ingredient ratios to suit your tastes and be sure to taste as you go. More almonds, salt, nutritional yeast and extra virgin olive oil will balance out any particularly bitter kale flavour.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan Kale PestoAuthor:
- Wash the kale and strip the leafy parts from the stems. Discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves.
- Add the kale, olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast, roughly half of the almonds, and salt and pepper to a food processor.
- Process until it becomes a thick, slightly chunky pesto.
- Add more olive oil or a little water to thin as desired and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Add the remaining almonds and pulse until they are chopped but not too small. A nutty, chunky texture is really good!